AGEING RESEARCHER: Academic excellence award winner Rebecca   McClure.
AGEING RESEARCHER: Academic excellence award winner Rebecca McClure.

Top PhD seeks diet data for healthier ageing

RESEARCHER Rebecca McClure is using her PhD studies to continue her quest to improve muscle health and physical function in older people.

The Sippy Downs resident has already received First Class Honours in Nutrition and Dietetics along with a University Medal for academic excellence.

The 54-year-old's former receptionist's academic career started in 2011 when she enrolled in USC's Tertiary Preparation Pathway (TPP) program after leaving an administrative job at a medical centre.

"It was exciting to start a new chapter in my life, however I hadn't studied since high school in Brisbane and was apprehensive about my ability to adapt to study and university life," she said.

"TPP was an excellent pathway as it gave me the opportunity to understand how university works and effectively gave me a six-month head start into my first degree.

"My achievements since then are the result of doing something I love and good time management. USC staff have been extremely supportive and encouraging and this has helped push me to succeed."

Ms McClure said she was passionate about continuing her studies.

Her previous collaboration with Lecturer Dr Anthony Villani found that the anti-inflammatory and high antioxidant components of a Mediterranean diet could reduce the risk of frailty and sarcopenia in older adults.

"My PhD is about dietary patterns that may assist with improving physical performance and lessening muscle loss and the risk of falls and fractures in older people living in the community," she said.

The aim was to develop interventions to minimise physical decline.

"Having previously worked in health care, I have seen first-hand how physical frailty and disability can affect the lives of older people," she said.

"Maintaining independence in the latter stages of life will assist with boosting quality of life and reducing the economic impact on healthcare services."


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